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Mega Muley - by Bear Claw PDF Print E-mail
Written by Texas Outdoors   
Sunday, 12 January 2014 15:53

Mega Muley

by Bear Claw

We've just finished Mule Deer season in Terry County. All week, I’d been getting up at 5, and slipping out to watch my feeder on my family's CRP. All week,

I had seen a few does, but it seems that (perhaps due to some nearby oil field projects) the deer seemed to have deserted my little corner, at least during

shooting hours.

Thursday morning (Thanksgiving), as usual, my alarm went off at 5, I went into the kitchen, started my coffee pot, and sat down in my chair, but that morning,

I fell asleep, and didn’t get out until 8, and got to my field at nearly 8:30, not seeing a single mammal (lotsa crows, cranes, and a few geese overhead). I

decided to pull my camera memory, and see what had been happening in my absence.

The game camera time is still set to Daylight savings time, so you can see what went on whilst I slept through the stupid Matt Lauer and the stupid Today Show!

I still had three days to catch up, but honestly, we had foresworn to hold off on the big deer to clean off some of the pitiful little (and some actually very

large bodied deer) bucks with puny antlers. But still, I would like to have seen that full sized buck! And tested my mettle!

After seeing only trail camera pix of a nice muley that I had missed because I fell asleep waiting for my coffee I was getting that desperate end of season feel.

Missing the buck Thursday morning, I was a little unconvinced I'd see anything to put in the freezer (we have no doe tags). The

mule deer season in this county is only a week plus a weekend long, so we have to make it count. I decided I wasn’t going to miss out again, so Thursday afternoon

(while everyone else watched the game) and Friday, I hit the stand hard, and checked the camera on the feeder, no luck, no buck, either.

My nephew and his wife had created a “Hillbilly Heaven” (as I call it) on our other CRP across the road from where I was hunting. He got a pickup bed trailer from

a Mennonite farmer for $1.50 (no kidding), got a very smelly pickup camper (no cab over, just a shell with a floor) and put up carpet as the windows, and had dragged

it into a really neat little park that has formed on this CRP farm, mostly containing elms, but a very neat little loafing area of about 20 acres that deer and

feral pigs (none this year, LOTS of sorghum in the area keeping them in the farmland) like to frequent. Just in case, nephew has a little pig wire corral with a

drop gate set up so he can trap the occasional sus scrofa that may invade, as well as a couple of feeders, and a small water tank. He, his brother, and his dad

had all taken very small antlered (but with large bodies, obviously older bucks with poor genetics) bucks this year from the little draw. Everyone on that side

of the family, save nephew’s wife, had tagged out.

The family members had decided that we would try to take the smaller, inferior deer this year, but gave ourselves an “out” for any real trophies (and it don’t take

much to make a trophy, usually, for us) if it shows age. I contacted my nephew to see if they were going to use his pasture Saturday morning, and he said, no, they

might check everything out about noon, so go for it! According to the pix on his camera at the main feeder, no big deer were in evidence.

SOOOO, I decided to at least see if a spindly spike would show up. They usually just parked about a hundred yards in the pasture, and walked a couple hundred yards

to the stand. But when I checked the weather, the westerly winds would waft across the pasture where I expected the deer to come. Although the deer that my nephew

was seeing were mostly coming from the northwest, and wouldn’t be affected, I decided to stay with the Bronco and just get where I could watch his feeders.

As soon as the light was beginning to filter from the sun down to the dry lake bed, and I was on my fourth cup of coffee from the Stanley thermos (Thanks, Moose!

About 25 years ago!), I looked over at the lake bed, and there was a magnificent silhouette watching toward the makeshift digs. In the early light, it was hard

to get a point count, but he just had the bearing of a fighting bull, and I knew it was NOT a spike. I put up my Leopold 3-9X, and let the crosshairs rest on his

mighty chest. I estimated that he was just inside of 200 yards, my 7 mm Magnum was hitting 2 inches high at 100, and would be right about on at that distance.

In fact, I had been practicing from the same Bronco window the other day, since it was so cold and wet at my makeshift range on another of our farms.

Nope, the safety stayed on, and I was true to my plan. Let him walk. He and I stayed transfixed for what seemed REALLY long, as I fought temptation. But finally,

he walked into the elm thicket, and I wished him well. His harem of four big does followed from the tree line behind him. I went back to my now cool coffee,

topped it off, and looked around some more.

Soon I noticed he had come a bit closer, and was now just over 140 yards from me, under an elm tree, browsing on whatever grass seeds were there. Once again the

Leopold crosshairs played on his chest, but the safety stayed on. He browsed back under the trees, with far too many little branches to risk a shot. “Thank you

Lord, for saving me from temptation.” More cold coffee.

Finally, he browed out into an opening, may 125 yards from me. The crosshairs again settled. I could see his chest as he breathed. His does were feeding right

behind him. “Maybe if I take the safety off, and just see....” My thoughts were interrupted by quiet, but authoritarian voice from inside that said, “I have

offered this magnificent gift to you three times now, and you have passed it up..... FOOL!” Suddenly, the gun spoke, the deer dropped like a stone, or so I

thought. When I started looking through the scope to see what had happened, I saw the magnificent deer three legging it out the back. I threw the door open and

took another shot, but the thick branches might as well have been bricks!

I fired up the Bronco, and drove through the herd of confused does, who were just standing around wondering what happened to Romeo! When I cleared the other side

of the tree line, he was heaving through the tall reeds in the dry lake bed. I took two more quick shots as he kept heaving up the little slope about 80 yards

from me, the second brought him down, but his head was up and he kept lunging to get up. I was able to close the distance, and we were only 20 yards apart, and

I wasn’t going to let him get to the neighbor’s. My last shot hit him in the base of the neck, and his magnificent head dropped. He slowly relaxed and I surveyed

the most magnificent deer I’ve ever taken! His Roman nose and badly worn teeth show he’s most likely at least five or six years old. His hooves are nearly six

inches long, and curled under on the sides, because he lives in the sand dunes of the area, and doesn’t wear down his hooves (fairly common in this area). His

hair is twice as long as the whitetails I’ve seen. And he was one TOUGH deer. It took four of us to load him in my trailer. I’m guessing he was close to 300

pounds on the hoof, if not more. The neatest testimony was when I took him to the butcher’s at Slaton. The two little Mexican guys were talking excitedly, and

turned to me and the larger one said “We need MORE PEOPLE to get him in.” They got a big round German guy to come out, and all he could say was “DAMN!”

The three of them circled around him, and tugged and dragged him into the locker. He made everything else on the game pole look puny!